John Szabo’s VINTAGES Preview – February 18th, 2017

The Good Oz and Miscellaneous Best Buys
by John Szabo, MS

John Szabo, MS

John Szabo, MS

The February 18th VINTAGES release features Australia, a country that, if you thought you were familiar with and have dismissed, you should try again. Few have gone through such a radical transformation from bulk to beauty in the last decade – it’s not all Yellow Tail anymore. Aside from the Aussie preoccupation with pH, which still occasionally leads to rampant, over-enthusiastic acid addition in the worst cases, the scene is buzzing down under.

In an unprecedented national undertaking, Australian winemakers have gazed deeply into their collective navel and discovered a wealth of potential: broad climatic range from downright cool to decidedly hot, now-treasured tracks of ancient vines (especially reds like Grenache, shiraz and cabernet, probably the world’s vastest acreage of old vines), and most importantly, a willingness to be different and paint by style, not numbers.

Last year, Anthony Gismondi, Brad Royale and I posted a series on the History, Evolution and Revolution of Australian wine that you may want to revisit to set the tone for this VINTAGES release. The lineup on the 18th features some truly lovely reds – I’ve picked four in the sweet spot from $17 to $25, each distinctive, yet unmistakably Aussie.

Part two of this buyer’s guide takes you on a round-the-world journey with memorable stops for smart buys in Chile, New Zealand, Greece, France and Italy. Textbook northern Rhône syrah, classic Tuscan sangiovese, the world’s most polyphenol-rich red from Umbria, and beautifully savoury dry-farmed Chilean carignan await, with whites to wedge in between.

John Szabo’s February 18th Buyers’ Guide:

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John Szabo, MS

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